Note on Azimuth #3 Concert : a new piece for 32 channels

Rough view of Azimuth #3 setup

Few months ago, I was invited to present a piece for 32 channel system of Azimuth foundation. Azimuth foundation(http://www.azimuthfoundation.net) is an organization of musicians/composers that organize concerts with their multichannel system that its configuration varies every edition. This time, they offered 32 channels: 8 circle outside, 4 quadra up and down at the corners of the hall, 8 circular center up, and down.

Then I thought I must write a new piece for it, although I didn’t have so much time left at the moment. I didn’t want to re-arrange an old piece that is written for a different system as this specific configuration can offer a number of interesting ideas to make a sound journey.

As I have been writing a lot for the WFS system (192 loudspeakers), my brain worked automatically the way I used to when writing for the WFS, which… could be described like : considering the whole space as an opened one, and creating my own ‘drawings.’

It wasn’t too long to realize that I was wrong in my approach, as this system is quite a different one. It is more like a ‘interwoven’ space that is made with a mixed up of different system(quad+multiple octa, and even stereos), accordingly different capacities. I couldn’t say that it is for a diffusion, nor for a spatialization. Rather a mixture of those two, especially with the setup in the center, speakers directing toward the audience, from up to down.

The speakers in the center, 8 up and 8 down toward the audience

The idea had to follow up of the ideal of the speaker setup. Then my composition should have to make sense as well. Then I thought it will be a good idea to have two specific ‘motions’ work together: 1. Some sound sources that are alive, moving, and having strong identities. 2. Clouds that are diffuse and support those main actors.

Previously, actually long time ago, I wrote a series of pieces for the WFS system, called ‘Enfolding Plane(I and II).’ Those are the pieces that I composed in order to study fully what the WFS could do with a variety of different spatial figures, of course with different sound materials. I thought it might be a good idea to add another piece into the series this time, so that I put ‘Enfolding Plane III’ title and gave a subtitle into it, which was ‘Punky Pulse Pool.’

I imagined a giant pool that several selfish pulse-character sounds are trying to occupy the space. It is rather a political fight than a violent one (as sometimes it could end up like that). I created a simple theme with pulse wave that has a small gesture, and started manipulate it into a variety of ways (I called it ‘variations’ in my program note). I had over 200 babies that came out from the theme. I was thinking of categorizing them first, then I thought, why not just trying to listen to them all together. Just out of curiosity.

I randomly placed (threw) all the sound files within 15 minutes time, listened to them, and then I hear a giant mass. (That was the moment that I made the title.) From there, without actually moving the sound files in time, I started cut them off. In other words, I started sculpting it, revealing what’s hidden, and sometimes hiding what’s representative. During this process, I also made decisions of where each sounds or parts of sounds should go and do. Are they staying? Moving? Diffuse? Heavy? Light? Slow? Fast? Overwhelming? Passing by? Supporting? Leading? Timid? And so on.

Localization of sounds is indicated with different colors

After that I moved the result into the WFS Collider, and then I gave them color marks based on my decisions in order to remember and to create the final tracks, and made note of it. This process took quite long. Longer than creating all the sounds.

The tricky part was the fact that I can’t test this in my studio. I wish I had 32 channels myself to try it out but well, I had to use fully my imagination.

Then I made a virtual setup that is similar to the original with the WFSCollider, the software for the WFS system, which, as I mentioned earlier, allows you to create your own space. Then I could have a bit of perspectives how it might sound.

Always very exciting to go for the first tryout with the actual system. This time wasn’t an exception. The most difficult part is to balance all the speakers as they are with different capacity/character. As it was the first time of listening, I spent most of the time making the balance.

Azimuth #3 Concert (22,Apr,2017)

The performance went well. A number of audience of course make the sound quite different, but it was alright. The difference between the WFS and this setup (or course there are many different aspects but if I mention as a biggest part of it) is how the chunk(mass) of sounds is heard; WFS is very good with a sound mass with vivid individuals, while this setup can’t give that amount of detail. However it forces you with much power. It moves you up and down, back and forth!

One of the interesting feedbacks from the audience: “I could feel that I am taking a shower at the giant water fall, but the water came from the bottom, not from the top!”

I feel grateful to have a wonderful experience, not only to compose but also to listen to the system. Multichannel exploration is never boring. There are still a lot to find, reveal. Discovering hidden spaces beyond our imagination.

“氣 CHI” Ji Youn Kang/Mei-Yi Lee Duo Concert @ StudioLoos

Chi

氣 CHI : The ancient Chinese described it as “life force,” and is frequently translated as “natural energy” or “energy flow”. The literal translation of “氣” is “breath”, “air”, or “gas.”

We are very happy to invite you to our special evening “氣 CHI”. We (The percussionist Lee and the composer Kang) have been working together as a duo since 2009, have continuously created pieces for Percussion, newly developed instruments, and Live electronics. All those pieces will be presented together, creating a rare opportunity for them to be heard, and for us to challenge and inspire ourselves to go further with our collaboration.

There will be a very special featuring performance by Henry Vega who is not only our dear friend, but also an innovative composer and performer especially in Electroacoustic music field.

>. Teaser
“氣 CHI” Teaser :

“氣 CHI” Teaser from Ji Youn Kang on Vimeo.

>. Program

Jing (2009~2010) for Jing and Computer

+Jing extra (2010)

Sit-Kim-Gut (2011) for Percussion and Computer

Hui-Mo-Ri (2012~2013) for Friction Plates (Instrument Design: Wen Chin Fu, will be performed by SonoLab Duo: Mei-Yi Lee / Vitaly Medvedev)

A new piece (2014) for A new instrument

A piece by Henry Vega

>. Entrance 3Euro
>. Special snacks for you

>. KANG www.jiyounkang.com
>. LEE www.sonolabduo.com
>. VEGA www.henryvega.net

 

Female Effects Spain tour

I’d like to share an awesome picture of my performance from the first Spain tour of Female Effects!

Jing

The performance in Cordoba, Spain.
Photo by Erin Mckinney

Female Effects is a project consisting of new pieces for acoustic instruments and electronics, composed by female composers and curated by the harpist/performer Angélica Vázquez.

The musicians involved are: Yamila Ríos, Lula Romero and Maria José Belenguer from Spain, Kate Moore (Australia), Barbara Ellison (Ireland), Marie Guilleray (France), Fani Konstantinidou (Greece), Ji Youn Kang (Korea), Meiyi Lee (Taiwan), Wen Chin (Taiwan) and Marisol Jimenez (Mexico).

We made the second concert as a group, and this happened in Spain at 23~24th of November, 2012.

It was quite cool that all those female composers/performers got together and made a new music performance in combination between Acoustics and Electronics together. We played in two cities: first in Cadiz, and the second in Cordoba. I brought ‘Jing – A traditional Korean gong-like instrument-‘ and I felt good as well that I brought this Korean instrument there. The piece is called ‘Jing’ for Jing and Computer. 

This was also my first trip to Spain so that I wanted to look around too as much as possible, but this tight schedule was quite crazy. We slept almost nothing for two days because we needed to move all the time. The time for the soundcheck takes very long due to the technical needs and the amount of the pieces. But we had lots of fun.

When we perform at Cadiz, it was a part of the contemporary music festival Festival de Música Española de Cádiz. This means that we can expect the kind of audience who is quite interested in listening to the new music. However, the second concert was completely local concert. We played at Iglesia de la Magdalena, in a medium size old church. We were a bit worried if people would like this. One of my friends from Spain commented on my Facebook advertisement of the concert : “You play an electronic music in Cordoba??? ”

This scared me a bit, because we wanted to have some audiences involved. We worked hard to make this happen.

Then wow. There were tons of audiences from Children to Seniors. They really filled the whole church. No one left in the middle of the concert, rather they came closer and closer toward the stage. This made us so excited. People liked it very much and we had a very nice performance.

Of course we didn’t forget to have a party after all. Everyone was quite tired but we had some drinks and even went to a club to celebrate.

Now our organizer Angelica is making the second plan to Spain again. This time in Sevilla, and probably happens in April. I wish all of us to go, but in this moment we are not sure.

It is quite hard to survive as a woman Electronic music composer. There sill are prejudices that woman cannot handle computer and cables, and they would make a pretty music. This female effects throw a rock into that pool. We are very active composers mostly involving electronics to their works, have a new, charming idea on their works,  have knowledge and ability to realize it. So yes. We are female, but we are NOT feminists. We are those kind of people who just do what we’d like to do, and we met together in one field.

Should male involve in this group? Maybe and Maybe not. Not because we hate guys around here, but women composers would need a bit more of  support and more stages and opportunities to perform, and we believe that this group add a small action into that.

More information on Female Effects